Rhododendrons - The Majestic Natives of Tibet
Rhododendrons are a numerous genus, which is rightfully considered one of the masterpieces of nature. First of all, due to the abundant, magnificent and early flowering. When the garden or park looks still very dull, these wonderful, though rather demanding, plants can help him become beautiful and fill with colors.
Rhododendrons (emphasis on the third syllable) are monoecious, evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs with alternate, simple, pubescent leaves. In the region of Sochi, many species of azaleas have long been cultivated (sometimes they mistakenly say and write - azalea). Azaleas differ from rhododendrons in only subtleties that are understandable only to scientists. The number of corolla lobes (petals, simply put) - in rhododendron flowers - from 5 to 8; the color is the most diverse, of all colors, except for pure blue and black, often with spots and strokes; box fruits with very small seeds. The flowers of the rhododendron are tubular, but can also be in the form of a bell.
All rhododendrons, like all heather in general, normally grow only on acidic soil; Lime or construction debris in the soil is fatal to them. Most rhododendrons have a hairy root system, the roots are thin, and they respond poorly to soil loosening under plants. One of the main requirements that rhododendrons make to all those who decide to be friends with them is constant soil moisture. In nature, they grow in moist forests. In dry summers they need good watering. However, in rainy spring, rhododendron needs good drainage. In general, this is a very difficult plant, but one who has ever seen the flowering of rhododendron will definitely try to grow it in his garden.
Rhododendrons are mainly shrubs and shrubs of small size. But rhododendrons are also large trees (rhododendron is tree-like). There are whole forests of rhododendrons in Tibet! There are rhododendrons-trees, and rhododendrons-shrubs, and ground cover rhododendrons. Rhododendrons come from Tibet, the Far East and Japan.
Rhododendrons are propagated by seeds (with the exception of several species), summer cuttings, layering and inoculation. Layers are made in mid-summer, when the rhododendron is laid kidneys for the next year. You can do an air lay. Some place on the trunk is smeared with a hormonal agent to stimulate root growth, then this place is covered from above with a breathing bag filled with sphagnum. Pruning is usually not required, except when it is necessary to reduce the size of the plant.
In general, rhododendrons and azaleas are very sensitive, fragile plants, they should be protected, and if they live in your garden, you should always have a hose, water, and a bunch of serious literature on what rhododendrons need for a good life.
There are a lot of azaleas in the parks, sometimes they grow in large groups. But so far no one has managed to grow a park of real large rhododendrons. The city is too hot in summer, smoky and gassed, and rhododendrons are forest dwellers who cannot tolerate these “charms” of human life. But they grow in the mountains, where the air is colder and cleaner. In the mountains of Krasnaya Polyana, one can see, although not as diverse as in Tibet, but also impressive slopes, completely overgrown with local varieties of rhododendron - Caucasian and Pontic. True, in the mountains no one runs around them with a hose and a guide, but KamAZ trucks do not go, and there are no poisonous secretions of the city, so rhododendrons feel great there.
Think carefully before acquiring rhododendron - this plant requires a lot of love and attention. But if you devote time to him, he will generously thank you!
Nice, isn't it!
- Yu.N. Karpun - Green Treasures of the White Nights, Subtropical Decorative Arboretum
- R. Bird - "Flowering trees and shrubs."
- And also used personal knowledge and observation!